ABOUT OUR COLOURS

It is possible to purchase a full set of 12 “professional” oil paints for less than ten dollars on the web. So how are The Art Treehouse Oil Colours different? Art Treehouse Colours are made by mulling (mixing – not grinding) pure pigments in oil. Inexpensive factory produced paints do not have high concentrations of pigment, because pigment is so expensive. It is quicker and less expensive to simply take a neutral paint base and add pigment to it, much as is done with house paint. It is possible to paint directly with these colors, no medium is required. However, any possibility of using the textures of the pigments is lost.

Oil painting is unique precisely because it makes use of the individual qualities of the pigments. The history of oil painting is filled with stories of artists and their colour makers gathering various exotic pigments and working them into oils.  Each pigment has a different texture, and the artists knew how to work with them. This is very different from, say, printing a color image using a computer. A laser printer or inkjet printer prints one texture only. Likewise with any tempera or acrylic paint that has a uniform consistency from tube to tube.

Some manufacturers of oil paints modify their paints so that they are all “buttery” or “ropey”, usually promoting this uniformity as superior. However the textures and brushing qualities of the pigments are lost. The pigments in their natural state will sometimes produce short paints, and sometimes long, depending on several factors such as the particle size and specific gravity. To change the natural quality of a pigment requires the use of additives. A small amount (less than 1%) of some additives may be helpful to improve the paint quality, but in general the excessive use of additives does more harm than good.

Art Treehouse Colours contain no solvents or alkyds. They are made with pure walnut or linseed-flax oil, and pigments. They are compatible with many mediums such as…
Linseed Oil
Walnut Oil
Impasto Medium
Varnish Medium
Oil of Spike Lavender
Biobased Thinner

Notice that we do not use the term “paint”, but instead use the word colour. This is to signify that in general these colours work exceptionally well when enriched with a medium. Because of their high concentration of pigment, they are more than just “paint in a tube”. This gives the artist much greater control over the process, where individual and unique decisions can be made regarding texture – impasto or glaze, buttery or ropey, glossy or flat, fine or coarse.

When the term Colour is used, it is exciting to think in terms larger than just a hue on the color spectrum. A colour encompasses much more, including the texture, viscosity, rheology, and even the history of the colour. This is an important part of what makes oil painting so interesting and rewarding. It is what makes oil painting unique.

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